Well, there is good news and bad news about the special session that ended last week in Olympia...
The good news? The legislature didn’t do much of anything, which means that the programs that we have been working to protect were NOT put on the chopping block yet. Legislators did talk about reform and how to move forward in balancing the budget, but they weren’t able to agree. Making these drastic changes is not a simple process.
The bad news? Since the legislature wasn’t able to agree on much, the fight to save Basic Health, Disability Lifeline, Medicaid, and long-term care programs is going to start again in January.
Many people living with MS and other chronic diseases rely on these pieces of the public safety net to stay in their homes, live independently, and have access to healthcare. Up until recently, Washington’s assistance programs were a genuine source of relief for our community. The last few years have seen cut after cut and even near elimination of some of these crucial programs.
The MS community has many partners in the legislature who understand the challenges of the chronic disease and disability communities and consistently fight to protect safety net programs. As referred to in a prior post, Senator Brown and Senator Keiser are helping us fight our fight, along with many others in Olympia. It is up to us – the MS Activists – to keep up the pressure and keep talking about our issues with our legislators and the public.
On the other hand, many of our legislators and much of the general public do not understand what it is like to live with a chronic illness and do not see a need for these expensive programs. It is up to us - the MS Activists - to educate those who may support cutting or eliminating these programs. Write letters to the editor, talk to your friends, email, call, and meet with your state legislators. If you aren’t sure who your representatives are, click here http://apps.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/default.aspx to find out.
Or join us as we bring the MS community to the state legislature for the Day of Activism on Monday, January 30th! Please plan on attending and register at http://wasmain.nationalmssociety.org/site/Calendar?id=270894&view=Detail. The more activists we have at the Capitol on the 30th – the stronger our voices will be.
Remember – It’s Time for Action Washington!
How do you feel about how the legislature is handling the budget crisis?